Australian Town Overrun With “Hairy Panic”

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The fast-growing tumbleweed is piling up in Wangaratta, Victoria.

Giant tumbleweeds are inundated the small town of Wangaratta in regional Victoria.

Fed-up residents are spending hours every day clearing out weeds that reach roof height.

The weeds, known as “hairy panic”, are spreading rapidly due to extremely dry conditions.



"Walked out the front door this morning to find a good six-metre spread of tumbleweed across the front of the house – again," local Jason Perna told ABC Goulburn Murray.

"Two metres high by three metres in diameter that spreads right across the front of the house."

"It makes it difficult to get the car out in the morning — if you can find it."

Perna suspects the grass has blown in from a nearby paddock that a local farmer has neglected.

"We're on the border of a farm-zoned rural property and a couple of years ago they planted a crop of hay in there. They didn't plant anything last year and it’s just derived from the grass that's died," he said.

"It'd be great if the farmer actually farmed the land, or did some slashing or ploughing of it just to keep that tumbleweed from growing or spreading any further."

Time to help us out in Bella Vista estate Rural City Council of Wangaratta. This is a daily issue we have down here and...

Posted by Matt Thewlis on Saturday, February 13, 2016

Also known as Panicum effusum, the weeds have long hairs on the edges of their leaves and are found all over Australia.

The weeds grow rapidly, forming tumbleweeds that can be fatal to sheep if eaten in large quantities.

A council spokesman says there’s not much to be done “from an enforcement side of things” but the council is investigating potential controls for next year.

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